Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

On Inauguration Tuesday: Barack Obama’s Stance on Mental Health Parity

barack obama.jpg

For all of you readers who are curious to know what Barack Obama’s stance is on mental health parity, I did some digging and found this letter he wrote (okay someone from his office) to mental health blogger, Alicia Sparks. I stole the following letter from her site, which you can get to by clicking here.


Dear Friend, 

Thank you for contacting me about mental health and the treatment of mental illness. As you may know, mental illness affects approximately one in five American families, and we must do more address this issue. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that untreated mental illnesses cost the U.S. more than $100 billion per year. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, I worked to improve mental health services for people with serious problems who are going untreated and undiagnosed.

It is important to end discrimination against those with mental illness, and that’s why I support the bipartisan Paul Wellstone (D-MN) Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, an updated version of legislation that Senator Wellstone championed for over a decade in Congress. This bill works to end discrimination against people suffering from mental illness and addiction.


I also support mental health parity. When suicide is responsible for more deaths in America than AIDS and homicides combined, we must act. That’s why I have championed efforts to improve awareness of mental illnesses and provide timely and appropriate treatment, and why I cosponsored the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007. Parity means that we don’t allow group health plans to impose treatment or financial limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to medical or surgical services. The bill closes the loopholes that allow discrimination in coverage that does not apply to other illnesses.

I’m proud of my record on this issue. I helped pass mental a health [sic] parity bill as an Illinois state senator that requires coverage for serious mental illnesses to be provided on the same terms and conditions as are applicable to other illnesses and diseases.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue.


Barack Obama

  • Jeffery Gauss

    Paul Wellstone is watching over President Obama. Barack took Paul’s senate desk after he died and I know the Wellstone spirit was with him from then on. President Obama and Jim Ramstaed helped bring mental illness to the front lines. I wasn’t happy that it was attached to the bailout bill. The future looks bright for everyone living with mental illness.

  • Paul Maurice Martin

    Sounds good. As a school counselor, the lack of mental health coverage for families with children or the severely limited number of sessions allowed was a continuing source of frustration.

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